Charles Blaschke may be the most knowledgeable person in the country on Education Policy and Funding, so when he notices funding twists that school districts can use to stretch their dollar and flexibility to meet their needs, district leaders and publishers need to listen. Charles authorized me to release information from one of his recent newsletters.
Opportunities with Title I and Other Federal Education Formula Funds
You may already be familiar with Title I, which is the largest federal source of funds for schools and districts, over $14 billion. While federal funds are earmarked to “supplement not supplant” existing funding sources, the US Department of Education cited the following conditions where funds can be used in Title I schoolwide programs:
- Upgrading the curriculum for the entire school
- Implementing an early warning system
- Extending the school day
- Reorganizing classes to promote personalized learning
- Implementing career academies
- Implementing school safety programs
In the past, districts felt that they needed to document how federal funds were adding new resources for Title I eligible students, the Department of Education has now clarified that that rules provide increased flexibility for school and district administrators; uses for the above activities are allowed for Title I schools without having to demonstrate "supplement not supplant".
In fact, a major test does not require the justification for individual programs that are combined in schoolwide programs, but more generally: “a ‘supplemental funds’ test applies, which requires districts to ensure their schoolwide program schools receive all the state and local funds they would receive if they were not Title I schools.”
E-rate funds for practically anything?
E-rate funds are designated to help schools and districts (and libraries) pay for broadband and network services. This past year, the amount available to schools almost doubled, to just under $4 billion.
There are two ways schools can tap these funds. Most commonly, schools can use the funds to directly pay for discounted eligible products and services.
Increasingly, though, savvy administrators are having the districts pay the full price directly for the services, and then getting reimbursed by E-rate. Upon reimbursement, the schools are then able to use these reimbursed funds to purchase instructional materials, professional development and other non-eligible E-Rate products and services. While this creates a lag of 6-18 months, many are finding the increased flexibility well worth it.
For more information
Blaschke’s company, Education TURNKEY Solutions, tracks these funds and who receives them. To find out how these options apply to your specific situation, contact Charles at 703-362-4689.
Note: image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6551534889